UPDATED: Does Anyone Believe New York Post's "Exclusive" About A Union Plowing Slowdown?
Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT
Yet another reminder that when Rupert Murdoch's New York Post publishes a union-bashing "exclusive" that seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
Late last year the Post splashed its "exclusive" about how "selfish" union members of New York City's Dept. of Sanitation purposefully didn't clear local streets in the wake of the recent blizzard in an effort to embarrass the city's (formerly Republican) mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Why? Because he cut the department's resources.
The glaring problem with the story was that the Post's "exclusive" was built around anonymous sources. The key sources were a handful of nameless union workers who supposedly spilled the beans of the slowdown plan to a local Republican city councilman, Dan Halloran. It appeared the Post did not actually interview those sources, but rather interviewed Halloran, who relayed what the nameless sources supposedly told him. (Oy.)
But right-wing bloggers didn't fret over the sketchy sourcing. They loved the angle that evil union workers tried to screw over New York City during its time of need.
As we previously noted, neither Bloomberg nor the city's former Republican mayor, Rudy Giuliani, believe the Post story. And today the New York Times has a long piece about how the Post "exclusive" was pretty much a joke:
Mr. Halloran said he had been visited by two supervisors in the Transportation Department and three workers in the Sanitation Department. But the two transportation supervisors did not back up his story in interviews with investigators, according to two people briefed on the inquiries. And Mr. Halloran has steadfastly refused to reveal the names of the sanitation workers.
Mr. Halloran expects to testify this week before a federal grand jury looking into the question of a slowdown, according to a person familiar with his intentions, and it is not clear whether prosecutors will try to compel him, under oath, to divulge the workers' names.
Meanwhile, investigators had hoped that extensive publicity would bring out others with knowledge of the purported plot. That has not happened, according to the people briefed on the investigations, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigations are continuing. This leaves prosecutors with no proof that anything occurred.